A Raytheon Co. Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) successfully completed a data-gathering mission during a Missile Defense Agency flight test. The mission's objective was to observe in-flight performance of redesigned components and gain valuable information on evolving threat classes.
EKVs are designed to destroy incoming ballistic threats while they are still in space. As part of the MDA test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, a ballistic missile target was launched and purposely not intercepted to demonstrate for maximum maneuvering and data collection.
The successful mission proved the effectiveness of a recent redesign of the EKV thrusters, which provides the control necessary for lethal impact with incoming threats while safely outside of the Earth's atmosphere. The testing was supported by Raytheon's sea-based X-band radar (SBX) and AN/TPY-2 radar – both play critical roles in supporting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.
"This was a remarkable data-collection opportunity," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "These are among our industry's most complex systems. Testing is critically important to ensuring the advancement of reliable kill vehicles for the protection of the U.S. homeland."
Raytheon is simultaneously managing four kill vehicle programs – the EKV, Standard Missile-3 kinetic vehicle, Redesigned Kill Vehicle, and Multi-Object Kill Vehicle. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of more than 30 successful space intercepts.
About the EKV
Backed by decades of kill vehicle technology expertise, the Raytheon-made EKV is designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats by directly colliding with them, a concept often described as "hit to kill."
- The EKV has an advanced, multi-color sensor used to detect and discriminate incoming warheads from other objects.
- The EKV has its own propulsion, communications link, discrimination algorithms, guidance and control system and computers to support target selection and intercept.
- The EKV is deployed and operational today.